|All Reviews > Karen Hamou > Karen Hamou Reviews|
Joined: Mar 17, 2020
3 months to the application deadlines, i was very confused and I wasn't clear about how to go about my applications. I was introduced to Fortuna and i scheduled a 30 mins free consultation call with Fortuna and i was matched with Karen Hamou. After the call, i was convinced i had to go with Fortuna.
Working with Karen, especially was fantastic. She was interested in learning my motivations and story and as a result, she was able to help me structure my thoughts and appropriately convey them on paper.
Also, her turnaround time was fantastic, typically reviewing my material within a day, even during the festive period.
Within a space of 3 months, i was able to come up with my resume and application materials for 5 schools.
With a GRE score of 326, i applied to Booth, Yale, Fuqua, Darden and Vanderbilt and i got admitted to all the schools!
Even after i had exhausted my consultation time, Karen kept in touch with me, sending me useful links and materials and wishing me success for my interviews
A big thank you to Fortuna and Karen. It was very great working with her and i highly recommend working with Fortuna, whether you're in or outside the US.
P.S: I am from Africa.
Joined: Jun 20, 2019
I interviewed multiple admissions companies and Fortuna stood out for their attention to detail, expansive view of the world, and succinctly getting to the heart of things.
I have seen these same qualities in my every interaction with Karen, starting from our first conversation. Karen has been my cheerleader and supporter through every step of the application process, getting me essay edits back in less than 48 hours, answering all my questions big and small, and helping me really refine the essence of my story and what I can bring to an MBA program. I really appreciated her flexibility in working around my schedule (we’re in very different time zones) and in helping me think strategically when I encountered challenges in my personal life during the application process. For most of us this process is a daunting one that is a test of stamina, willpower, and self-belief, but knowing Karen was on my side really helped me manage the stress and uncertainty.
I highly recommend Karen to anyone looking for a supportive, strategic, and empathetic consultant during the MBA admissions journey.
Joined: Oct 28, 2018
760 Q51 V41
After hearing about how other people applying to business school were using consultants, I knew I wanted to use one as well. When I first started looking at the different consulting companies, I had taken the GMAT once but cancelled my score because it wasn't in the range for the schools I wanted to attend (M7). After taking some time off from studying, I was getting back into studying but my score wasn't improving as much as it needed to and I wasn't sure when I'd hit the score I needed. Regardless, I reached out to a few companies and scheduled initial consult calls. The first company I reached out to didn't even want to talk to me because I hadn't retaken the GMAT yet and basically told me in so many words that I didn't go to Harvard undergrad and didn't work at Goldman Sachs or Blackstone so I had no chance at my top school choice. To say I felt demoralized is an understatement. I spoke with a few other consultants and while most were nicer, they pushed me to spin my post-business school goals in a way that felt disingenuous to the story I wanted to tell because it was what admissions wanted to hear.
When I talked to Judith and Karen at Fortuna, it was a completely difference experience. They were so understanding of my goals and how I wanted to convey them in my application and supported me in getting started on applications while also balancing studying for the GMAT. While I know many people navigate the process successfully without a consultant, I needed somebody who knew how to navigate it most efficiently that I could bounce ideas off of for multiple iterations at any time of day. Karen was amazing at helping bring the best content and presentation out of me while also helping me stay true to how I wanted to present it. Karen was a lifesaver during the application process. With her help and organization, I applied to my top 4 school choices in Round 1 and she helped me strategize for potential Round 2 applications that thanks to her help I didn't have to prepare. I was accepted in Round 1 and even offered a very generous scholarship and I really think her expertise at helping me prepare for the application / interview was key in these results.
My friend is also applying to business school this year and using a different consulting company. In talking about our experiences with our consultants, it's really night and day. Karen and everybody at Fortuna is so generous with their time and just proactively reaching out to wish you good luck with interviews / decision results and sets you up with everything you need for success. I would think that this is similar to the experience you'd have with other consultants, but my friend sadly hasn't had the same experience (but take this with a grain of salt, as it's just one data point).
All in all, I'm very happy with my experience. With Karen, I was able to tell the story I wanted tell and have a positive outcome. While Karen helped polish my story (and it needed alot of polishing), she didn't change its fundamentals. Her patience and care made me feel supported every step of the way. I think a good consultant is an unconditional cheerleader that's still realistic, and Karen was this for me.
Joined: Nov 07, 2018
760 Q51 V42
At the outset, I had very high expectations because of all the great reviews about Karen and Fortuna. My high expectations were not just met but were exceeded.
Karen didn’t just help with essays, but she made every single part of the process advance as seamlessly and smoothly as possible – taking a lot of stress away – and ultimately allowing me to put my best foot forward. All throughout my time working with Karen, she really did care about me and worked very hard reviewing and helping me craft my material. She did so in a very timely, professional and caring way.
Karen was not just my admissions consultant – instead, she was more like a sports coach – she sat in my corner and her insights, encouraging voice and detailed questions helped propel me to a level I would not have reached without her.
The quality of her advice, MBA-specific knowledge, and essay reviews/comments/edits are unparalleled. She is also an extremely strong wordsmith and I’ve learned many things about writing from her.
Summary of key aspects of Karen’s help:
1. Resume – through phone calls and many rounds of review, Karen helped me produce a resume that I was proud of. She dug deep into my choice of particular words/phrasing. By listening to my career experience, she helped me select the most impactful things to show. All throughout the rest of the process, Karen retained my key work experience information and often prompted me to inject a certain piece of work into a part of an essay where it was relevant. Often surprising me as to how good her memory of my work experience was.
2. Essays – helped me understand and articulate my story better. Through many rounds of detailed review and questioning, Karen helped me craft powerful and compelling texts about my career journey, and why MBA and this school.
3. Biodata forms – similar to the above, Karen helped me craft the best possible content into extremely tight forms
4. Interview prep – I was invited to 3 interviews and was admitted to all 3 schools. A big reason why was the live mock interviews (including Wharton’s TBD) that Karen conducted with me. She would finish each mock interview with a candid assessment of my performance on each question. When the real interview came around, I felt very well prepared
5. General prep for MBA fairs – Karen helped me plan/refine/practice my elevator pitch for meeting admissions staff at MBA fairs
6. Fee discussion with schools – post-admission Karen has continued to share her MBA-specific knowledge with me, to help me navigate the complexities of deciding which school to attend and financial aid
7. Backed by Fortuna – Karen is amazing, but she is also backed by a strong team. Secondary reviewers performed a final review of all materials.
Karen was far better than other consultants I’ve seen my friends and workmates rely on. Karen dug deep underneath the surface, remembered critical details about me, and really pushed me to produce great content.
I can 100% vouch for and recommend Karen.
Joined: Nov 27, 2017
700 Q49 V35
Well a little background on me. My GMAT is below average for all the M7 schools and I was considering retaking the exam, infact I had started preparing. Also, as an international from Africa, I felt I needed to do more since the acceptance hasn't been so good (at least with people that I know that applied). So overall I probably have the most average background you can think of, I even had a lot of loopholes in my undergrad transcript.
After Fortuna reached out to me and we scheduled a 30 minute call to discuss my career and life ambitions, I really felt they genuinely wanted to help and they even offered a discount to me (talk about putting your money where your mouth is).
What Karen helped me do was to present my story in the best possible way and connect the dots in my personal and professional life that made it possible to convince the adcom to want to interview me at the very least. At the end of the day, some parts of your application has to stand out if you have a lot of weaknesses and presenting yourself in the most polished way possible would go a long way.
Her reviews on every part of my applications were very thorough and she was always willing to assist in areas where I got stuck in addressing concerns over my application. Also, her turn around time was commendable and even though I had not met her, it felt like we were really working together throughout the application process. I honestly would recommend her to anyone who is interested in applying to Columbia.
Joined: Sep 02, 2019
740 Q49 V41
Attending CBS has always been a dream of mine. Once I finished the GMAT, I knew what my MBA goals were, but found myself struggling to create a cohesive 'story'. I reached out to a few admissions consultants to see if I could get help.
I decided to work with Karen Hamou at Fortuna. From our first call knew I had made the right decision. Not only was she extremely knowledgeable about the schools I was applying to, but had the unique ability to take my muddled experiences, interests, goals, and dreams and help me create a coherent and captivating story. She truly has a gift for connecting the dots and seeing things from a holistic point of view.
I decided on the comprehensive school package and it was well worth the price. Karen helped me transform my resume, craft my story, strategize my recommenders, edit my essays, and prepare for my interview. Other members of the Fortuna team also took a look at my resume, essays, and application, which was really helpful in getting another perspective.
Karen was also extremely thorough and responsive. I would oftentimes send things late at night and would wake up to find her edits and responses. I was truly blown away by her work ethic.
Karen pushed me to apply in July so that I would receive a decision in August. That way I would know my answer before having to start any other applications. Well, she was absolutely right! Her guidance saved me countless hours and a whole lot of stress.
I cannot recommend Karen and the Fortuna team enough. They really pushed me to be the best version of myself, and I don't think I would have attained the same success without them!
Joined: May 14, 2016
720 Q49 V39
After having completed the GMAT, TOEFL, getting Recommenders on board etc. I found myself at a huge roadblock at writing essays and completing the remaining content for my applications. Especially as someone foreign to US style application it was difficult for me to hit the right tone and narrow down my key selling points for the respective schools.
After talking to some companies, I decided to get support from Fortuna Admissions as I felt they saw the person behind the application rather than just the numbers. I was lucky to have been put in touch with Karen.
Getting her on board immediately increase the pace that I was moving forward with and elevated the overall quality by helping me to find the right focus point within my life experience. Karen was highly efficient and I would usually get her feedback within a few hours. Sending in the applications, knowing that this was my best effort, was a great feeling. Karen was also there for me once interview invitations came in to prepare me accordingly. I am not sure I could have made it into Haas without her experience. If you have ambitious goals, I can highly recommend Karen as coach, as she will get the best out of you!
Joined: Oct 27, 2016
720 Q48 V41
Karen at Fortuna is an amazing consultant, and I could not have asked for a better person to help me with the overwhelming process of applying to business school. My situation was unique because my decision to work with a consultant came very late in the application process. Some consultants probably would have been turned off by me as a client in this respect, but Karen did not hesitate in taking me on. As we began working together, Karen was always very responsive to my emails; if I sent her a draft of an essay at night after work, she always provided comments by the next day. And when I received interview invitations from schools, she was proactive and available to help me prep at any time that was most convenient for me and for however long I needed. But her speed was not at the expense of the quality of her comments. Karen is extremely knowledgeable about the application processes for all the schools that I applied to, and she provided very thoughtful, school-specific advice on my essays, short answer responses, and interview responses. In our mock interviews, she helped make my responses more crisp and suggested ways that I could weave in important elements of my story. Her comments on every major aspect of my application were crucial in helping me develop and craft my story so that I conveyed it eloquently to the admissions committees. Karen is a pleasure to work with, both professionally and personally, and I highly recommend her and Fortuna to anyone applying to business school.
Joined: Jun 06, 2019
I contacted Karen 36 hours before the merit based deadline for Columbia Business School. I initially thought my application was strong but after getting it reviewed by one more person, they insisted that I contact Fortuna. Now typically, 36 hours is not enough time to edit 4 essays and a resume. However, Karen worked expeditiously to give me consistent feedback until we were comfortable with my admissions package. We made the deadline with much time to spare. The most impressive thing about the entire process is that Karen helped me enhance my content without changing the core of what I was trying to relay to the admissions committee. I don't know if this can ever be proven, but I can honestly say that the input Karen provided me in those 36 hours played a significant role in my admission to Columbia. I cannot thank Karen enough for the quick and efficient turnaround! When the rest of my friends start this MBA admissions process, I will 100% send them to Karen and Fortuna.
Joined: Mar 28, 2019
690 Q48 V36
I decided to work with an admissions consultant because I wanted to be fully informed about the admissions process, and I only wanted to go through it once. I worked with Karen and Fortuna for eight months in what I found to be a very personalized process. From the start, Karen helped me prioritize the correct activities, which gave me confidence knowing that I was making best use of my time. I also really appreciated how responsive Karen was, particularly closer to deadlines: she answered my questions almost immediately, returned edited documents within only a few hours (and sometimes even overnight), and I could schedule calls with her within 24h and at my preferred times. I found this invaluable because I could create much stronger essays shortly before deadlines. The edits Karen and her team offered for my essays were always substantial, constructive, and sometimes even challenging, but I always understood and agreed with the reasoning behind them. Working with experts gave me the confidence to redraft larger sections of my essays to help transform them from intelligible to persuasive while keeping them personal, genuine, and in my writing. Fortuna’s resources are current, extensive, and specific for every business school, which was instrumental for my essays and interviews. After submitting the written applications, Karen and I practiced for the interviews and video questions, and her feedback in our practices clarified my areas for improvement and made me feel more confident in the interviews.
Working with Karen ultimately helped me gain acceptance to INSEAD (despite below-average numbers on almost every metric of my profile), and I am convinced that I could not have done it without Karen’s help. I cannot be more satisfied with Fortuna’s support in the process and highly recommend Karen and her team – thank you!